Argalia

Argalia is a kingdom nestled between mountains and sea. The elves claim to be the first inhabitants of Argalia of any note, but there is evidence that there were people before the arrival of the elves. Who they were and what happened to them none can say.

Argalia is currently made up of 7 provinces, each ruled by a Baron and/or Baroness who report to the Crown of Argalia. The population of the kingdom is overwhelmingly human, with a few notable exceptions.

The seven provinces and their rulers are as follows:

Lord Rothwell Al'viast of Kharkan (young male human, unmarried)
Lord Resta Birroll of Syldan (older male human, widower)
Lady Brenna Silvermane of Mirriamar (young human woman, rumors of elven blood in her family)
Lord Jorion Redfist and Lady Aristel Silverbirch of Luminoc (he's human, she's a half-elf who was raised in the Hart Wood with the elves)
Lord Ryll Valestas and Lady Grenneth T'larion of Caldyr (older human couple)
Lord Arkendar Al'viast of Enkhar (older male human, unmarried, Rothwell's uncle)
Lord Falchion of Tyrell (young male human, engaged and soon to be married to a woman no one knows much about, though there's much speculation)

The High King of Argalia is Gylthan Goldenglove, descended from a famous hero who lost a hand in a battle and had a false one made of gold, thus the name. Gylthan's queen, Lindy Al'mayev, died childless of a wasting sickness about 20 years ago and he's never remarried. Gylthan is now nearing 70 and his health is failing. He has been the high king for almost 50 years, and his reign has been a time of unequalled prosperity for the kingdom. He has no heir or heir designate, so people are getting nervous and jockeying for position. He has a younger brother named Galen, but has not recognized him as his heir. Galen is seen as something of a wastrel.

The Elven population, for the most part, lives in a huge forest that sprawls across parts of the provinces of Luminoc and Mirriamar. The forest is called the Hart Wood and the elves are recognized as a sovereign nation within Argalia. They have a treaty with the high king (think a giant Reservation with a much higher standard of living and no casinos).

The Dwarves, for the most part, live beneath the mountains in the province of Syldan. They are treated as a neighboring country for the purposes of politics since they are beneath the kingdom.

Halflings live in small enclaves, mostly in the plains of Caldyr. Their goods are prized, especially their baskets and small toys, believed to be the finest in the kingdom. The Halflings consider themselves upstanding citizens of the realm, but they are considered second-class citizens by most of the populace who even knows of their existence.

The are no Gnomes known to live permanently in Argalia. There are Gnomish traders from the other side of the Grothgils, but their appearance in Argalia is rare enough to warrant retelling by bards.

Members of the monstrous races are not considered citizens. At the beginning of Gylthan's reign 50 years ago he led a purge of all half-orcs in the realm, of which there weren't many to begin with. It was somewhat controversial, but very effective as it's been about 50 years since anyone's seen a half-orc.

The overwhelming population of Argalia is human, and it's not uncommon to meet people who have never seen a member of a different race. Since Elves and Dwarves don't consider themselves citizens of the kingdom people's attitudes toward them vary. The average person in Argalia isn't literate, so a lot of communicating is done through heraldry or signs and sigils, and most people recognize common signs. Communication between provinces is typically done by Courier, or Herald for missives from the Crown. Couriers and Heralds usually have free passage between all provinces and are extended courtesy in every town they pass through. Some provinces also do long-distance communicating by drums or horn calls, and some are said to be experimenting with birds. Some magical forms of communication are rumored to be used, but are out of the financial reach of most commoners. Travel between the provinces is freely done in times of peace, however the wise traveler carries identification. ID papers cost 5 coppers, and must be marked by an official Town Notary to be recognized. Most towns have a notary at the Courier station.

There are very definite class distinctions in the kingdom, and adventuring is one of the few ways to buy yourself into the next class up from that to which you were born. Most adventurers are looked upon with awe (or indifference) by the average citizen and amusement by those in the nobility until they gain sufficient wealth/power to be intimidating. Then they either need to be eliminated or they're great fun at parties.

Argalia is separated from the rest of the continent by a huge mountain chain known as the Grothgil Mountains. The Grothgils run roughly from the Sea of Ice in the North to the Sea of Loss in the South. You don't know much about the lands on the other side of the Grothgils because Argalians tend to be insular, separated from the rest of the world as they are by seas and mountains.

Edition: 3.5

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